This article from Science Daily interviews Jim Denison, of the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre, is full of great points on the need for coaches to avoid becoming complacent, and instead seek to be continual learning and evolution in their coaching practice:

"Coaching is complex, continually changing and influenced greatly by the context, athletes' circumstances and the developing relationship between the coach and the athlete."

"There's good research that shows that when coaches achieve this expert status they tend to want to maintain that," he says, "so admitting that you don't know becomes a threat to their expertise."

"Often the most successful coaches are the ones who are most willing to adopt a lifelong learning approach and to admit that they don't know," says Denison, who advocates "problem-setting" -- determining whether there is indeed a problem, before "problem-solving."

I'd add that a level of humility also goes a long way in coaches - the more you know, the more you know you don't know.

Head of Performance for the Sydney Roosters in the Australian Rugby League, Lachlan Penfold, has an article on the Propel Perform site, where he talks about the opportunity he had to work with a professional club, and how he turned the relatively non-paying job ($750/year) into a very important development opportunity as a young coach. 

Some quotes:

You only learn that by doing it.

It taught me to be creative, and independent. 

Making sure you can see everyone, and they’re not all going at once, so that you can make sure technique is performed correctly.  Being able to motivate, encourage, admonish, all at once.  That’s the art of running a training session, everything functioning smoothly, players working hard and doing things correctly, no injuries, no standing around getting bored.  You can’t learn that in a lecture theatre or a tutorial. You need to do it, mess it up, then come up with a better way.  And keep doing that.

If he had been holding out for a better paying job, he might not have had this opportunity to develop and learn the coaching craft.

I was fortunate to have a similar opportunity early in my coaching career, moving from Ontario to Victoria BC to take a development coach role with the newly created National Triathlon Centre. The role paid an honorarium, and although it was a significant move across Canada for relatively little pay, it was a career changing opportunity, and opened all sorts of doors in the future. 

AuthorJoel Filliol